San Jose Sharks defenceman Erik Karlsson is expected to be one of the most coveted free agents on the market this summer, and he might be hoping to return to where he rose to stardom.
Karlsson is looking for the Ottawa Senators to make a competitive offer for his services, according to Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun. Brennan cites Karlsson’s wife Melinda’s “homesickness” as the main reason for a possible reunion with the Senators. Melinda was born and raised in Canada’s capital, and would prefer to live in closer proximity to her family.
Whether the interest is mutual remains to be seen since Ottawa is in the midst of a rebuild. The remainder of the 29-year-old’s prime years may not coincide with the Senators’ window should they return to contention down the road.
Brennan also mentions the Canadiens as potentially being on Karlsson’s radar since Montreal and Ottawa are only separated by 200 kilometres. The Canadiens have more than $11 million in projected cap room to play with, but they already carry two costly right-shot defencemen on their roster in Shea Weber ($7.86-million cap hit) and Jeff Petry ($5.5 million).
Karlsson became a perennial all-star and Norris Trophy candidate with the Senators, but was traded to the San Jose Sharks prior to the 2018-19 season.
By all accounts, Karlsson enjoyed his first season in San Jose, and tallied three goals and 42 assists in 53 games. He fuelled speculation that he was leaving the Sharks with a cryptic tweet after his team was bounced from the Stanley Cup playoffs, but Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports the Swede is very much considering staying in northern California.
“The word is that Erik Karlsson is taking a long, hard look at deciding if he wants to stay in San Jose,” Friedman said during "Hockey Night in Canada" Saturday. "And I think we’re going to know, in about a week, if he’s going to stay or if he’s going to investigate his other free agency options.
“He wants to win, the Sharks are perennially in it (and) they’ve made a good impression on him.”
Wherever Karlsson ends up, he’s the type of talent that instantly anchors a blue line and elevates an entire roster.
More NHL coverage from Yahoo Sports